The Courage to Rebuke

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Jesus rebuked the demon, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. Luke 4:35-41 [ESV]

Cactus-III | Phoenix, AZ | January 2022

He came into my office and told me to my face, “I’m leaving my wife. I know it’s wrong, but I’m leaving and moving to Dallas.” That would have been a good time for a rebuke. But I’m not a rebuker. I’m not proud of that. I should have spoken up more strongly than I did. I’m sure I did to some extent. But It was not the “May your money perish with you!” kind of rebuke (cf. Acts 8:20). 

I think also these days about the situation in Ukraine. Thankfully there are those who are loudly rebuking Putin in his latest quest. 

Jesus was not afraid to rebuke evil when he saw it. He was unafraid of the demons. He was unafraid of the religious power brokers of his day. He spoke straight and clear. But such talk is not for the faint of heart. He had the authority and power to speak thus. He was spiritually, emotionally, and morally uncompromised. No one could rightly accuse him of manipulating people. He was not some carnival barker or even a religious huckster. He spoke with uncommon authority – unlike any others in his day…or ours to be honest. 

Three times in these few verses Jesus rebukes evil spirits. Three times he will not let them testify to his identity. He knew they were only mocking him in their supposed confession. He knew their witness would be detrimental to his mission. Evil always has a goal – even if it lurks in orthodox-sounding confessions, or the wrappings of outward piety. Jesus knew that. He also knew and was totally committed to his mission to seek and save the lost. He was perfect in his knowledge of God’s will. He was without waver in his faith. He was wholly dedicated to doing the will of the Father. 

Those three form a powerful coalition. And to the extent we engage our faith, commitment to God’s reign and rule, and understanding of God’s will (think Romans 12:2), we too can be powerful in opposing Satan and his minions. We can even rebuke him. And as to our witness to Jesus’ identity and his reign and rule, we will never be perfect. But we certainly would not wish to discredit Jesus. We would never wish to mock him outright. So speak up! Confess Jesus is Lord. Let the world know who he is and how he has blessed you. 

Paul tells Timothy that God’s word is profitable for reproof (2 Timothy 3:16). This should never be taken lightly or used in a cavalier manner. Thank God that Jesus knew when to rebuke, and did it! I wonder whether I need to be a little more courageous whenever I see evil having its way. God give me courage to do so when the need arises. 

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